Student researcher

Dr Raven Cretney Research Leader

The post-disaster city: Urban crisis politics and social change in community led earthquake recovery

I am a doctoral student in the Global Urban and Social Science department at RMIT. Originally from New Zealand, I moved to Melbourne three years ago to undertake my PhD. I have been working on research in the area of disaster response and recovery for five years throughout my Masters based in New Zealand at Victoria University of Wellington and my PhD while based at RMIT.

Broadly, my research focus is in the areas of community resilience, disaster response and the politics of disaster recovery. In particular, I am interested in how times of disaster recovery can be challenged to be more inclusive and participatory in order to create and sustain more equitable, sustainable and resilient places and communities.

My research works at the boundaries of disaster studies and critical geography to influence both the theoretical contributions of research as well as the practice and policy implications. More widely I am interested in issues around environmental degradation, climate change and the changing role of human-environment relations.

I am currently finalising the write up of my doctoral thesis investigating the dynamics of urban crisis politics and community led recovery in the context of the devastating 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes in Aotearoa New Zealand. This research takes a dual approach towards the geographies of hope and crisis in the post disaster urban environment to interrogate the political nature of different forms of participation in disaster recovery at both the government and community level. As part of this research I have analysed the New Zealand government’s approach to long term disaster recovery as well as the alternative forms of community led recovery that are contributing to change in how people interact with the urban environment and each other.


Year Type Citation
2019 Thesis Cretney, R. The post disaster city: crisis politics and social change in community led earthquake recovery. Global, Urban and Social Sciences Doctor of Philosophy, (2019).